Sri Lanka Itinerary with young kids.

We absolutely loved our time in Sri Lanka and it was easily one of our best family trips to date. You can read here why we think Sri Lanka is fantastic for young kids. So we thought we’d share our itinerary with you. Feel free to copy it exactly for your own travels, tweak it to fit your own time or interests, or just simply use it for inspiration.

TraveLynn Family in Sri Lanka

We focused on a Southern loop to take in pristine beaches, colonial architecture, a safari to meet elephants and some time in the Hill Country. It was only about 2 to 4 hours generally between destinations which is very doable with young kids. Our preferred mode of transport was train, but if the tracks didn’t go to where we wanted we would opt for a tuk-tuk and time the drive with our 12pm nap/downtime. A car would have been faster, we just prefer to travel in tuk-tuks as they’re open and offer that sense of freedom as you watch the world breeze by. We did miss out some classic tourist spots such as Sigiriya and Dumbulla, but the former particularly requires a lot of climbing for little legs (our boys are aged 2 and 3) and we figured we’d leave that for another trip.

Day 1-2 Colombo
Arrive in Colombo. Head to the train station first thing to book your train tickets (if you haven’t already done this online). Wander around the historic Fort area and old town quarter of Slave Island, visit Gangaramara Temple, let the kids enjoy all that Viharamahadevi Park has to offer – a playground, water fountains to run in, a small train, horse-riding, an aquarium – and head to to Galle Face Green around sunset for dinner from a street vendor and watch the kites and snake charmers. Getting around Colombo is very easy as all tuk-tuks use the meter. Just ensure you have Google Maps downloaded offline to direct them, if necessary. You can read more about Colombo with kids here.

We stayed at: Anugaa in the City

Sri Lanka with kids Colombo

Day 3 Galle
Catch the train to Galle, just a 2.5 hour journey along the coast. Take a walk along the fort walls and explore the Dutch Colonial buildings. Try to time this later in the day to escape the heat and package tourist day-trippers. The full circuit along the top of the wall can be done in under 2 hours. However, for little explorers that like to climb the walls, look for dragons and generally walk a little slower, we suggest splitting the walk in two and saving a section for an early morning stroll on Day 4. Read more about Galle here.

We stayed at Fort de 19 villa

Sri Lanka Itinerary with kids - Galle

Day 4-5 Mirissa
After your early morning stroll exploring more of Galle Fort, take a tuk-tuk to Mirissa (LKR1800, 1 hour), via a turtle hatchery, to enjoy some beach time. The main beach at Mirissa offers a long shady stretch of sandy beach, perfect for building sandcastles. The waves and current are strong, so join the kids in jumping over the waves. You can also visit Secret Beach and walk back to the main beach through the jungle. Ensure you receive clear directions. We got very lost. The walk should take around 40 mins with little legs.

We stayed at Lashan Guest House. It’s tucked away in a quiet area 400m from the beach, but the owners will happily drop you at the main beach in their tuk-tuk. 

Sri Lanka Itinerary with kids - Mirissa

Day 6-7 Udawalawe National Park
It’s time to meet some elephants! Take a tuk-tuk to Udawalawe (3hrs, LKR5000, would be 2hrs in a car). We stayed in glamping tents at Kottawatta Village just outside the National Park. Book your 3 hour safari with the resort for 5:30am. Kids under 5 are free and so the total price for entrance fee, jeep hire and safari guide was LKR7500 for our family of 4. The resort provides snacks for the safari and breakfast on your return. You are pretty much guaranteed to see elephants! When not on safari, enjoy your time at the resort. It has an onsite restaurant, swimming pool with kids’ area, hammocks for napping and you’ll meet monkeys on your veranda. You can read our full post on Udawalawe National Park here.

Day 8-10 Arugam Bay
Another tuk-tuk ride (4.5hrs, LRK7500, 3hrs by car) brings you to Arugam Bay, the surf mecca of Sri Lanka. But there’s more to this surfer town than barrels and boards (that’s as far as my surfing lingo goes!). Wonderful family friendly accommodation awaits at Elephant Road Resort, set back from the main party strip. Air conditioned rooms with two double beds and a comfortable outdoor space (with hammock and hanging bed) overlook a sandy courtyard where your kids can run free. The super-chilled Israeli owner (Miki) has created a community vibe, very welcoming of children. Miki also knows THE BEST spots around Arugam Bay. Our favourites were Elephant Rock Beach, Peanut Farm Beach and watching the sun set from Crocodile Rock. You can read our full post on Arugam Bay with kids here.

Day 11-12 Ella
It’s time to say farewell to the beaches and head inland to explore the tea plantations and jungle-clad hills of the Central Hill Country. A tuk-tuk will take 4 hours to get to Ella (LRK2000). Again, you can do the journey quicker by car (3hrs), but be weary that there are many hairpin bends as you approach Ella and the open sides of a tuk-tuk may help with kids who are prone to travel sickness. Whilst in Ella, visit a tea plantation (the kids will love seeing all the big machinery in operation), visit the Nine Arches Bridge and climb Little Adam’s Peak (ask a tuk-tuk to take you as far as possible to save those little legs for the steep stairs they need to navigate at the top).

We stayed at Ella Ridge View, a lovely family homestay with lots of toys and other children to play with.

Arthur_summit

Day 12-14 Living Heritage Koslanda
After all that travelling, it’s time to treat yourselves indulge and in some luxury. Take the 1hr train from to Haputale; this stretch of track is perhaps the most stunning in all of Sri Lanka. A tuk-tuk will then drive you down into the valley to the tranquility of Living Heritage Koslanda. The smiling Mr Carrim awaits to escort you to your stylish villa with plunge pool and outdoor shower. Enjoy the incredible infinity pool, take a hike to the private waterfall, or just enjoy the space, freedom and peace that the 80 acres of pristine land offers. You can read our full review here. We only stayed 2 nights, but we seriously wished we’d stayed 3.

Day 15 Kandy
Today is your longest travel day. 5.5 hours on a train to Kandy. We found the bustle of Kandy to be quite a shock to the system after the serenity of Living Heritage Koslanda. However, there is a good playground, which the boys certainly appreciated, and a visit to the Temple of the Tooth is a must.

We stayed at River Side Homestay Appartment. This is a lovely family homestay about 5 minutes drive out of Kandy. Tuk-tuk drivers from Kandy will not know the way. Ensure you have the property marked on Google Maps on your phone and take the phone number of the owner with you. 

Sri Lanka Itinerary with kids - Kandy

Day 16 Back to Colombo
A 2 hour fast train completes the loop and returns you to Colombo. We spent our last day catching up with old friends who live in Colombo, enjoying a swim in their pool and eating pizza.

 

If your kids are older, check out this great list of 12 Best Things To Do In Sri Lanka.

Disclaimer: TraveLynn Family was kindly hosted by some accommodations mentioned above.  However the opinions and words are all our own, based on our own experiences.

Sri Lanka Itinerary with young kids
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Where would we be without our trusted Lonely Planet guide. The Sri Lanka edition was invaluable to our travels.

You may also wish to read:
Why Sri Lanka is fantastic for young kids
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40 thoughts on “Sri Lanka Itinerary with young kids.

  1. Pingback: Why Sri Lanka is fantastic for young kids – TraveLynn Family

  2. Clare Thomson

    What a great sounding itinerary and your tips on travelling with kids are spot on. Love the sound of your hotels too – especially the one with the outdoor shower and infinity pool. I might have been tempted to take it really slow and spend a week there! Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    1. Thank for reading Sam! It’s amazing how much we could fit in – so much variety crammed into a relatively small area. The beaches, elephants and Hill Country are only a few hours apart from each other. And yes – tuk-tuks are always a huge hit with the boys. Living in Bangalore, we use them every day and the they still haven’t tired of them!

  3. Pingback: Udawalawe NP with young kids: meeting elephants in the Sri Lankan wilderness – TraveLynn Family

  4. Oh wow it looks like the most incredible trip, I have loved following your pictures on Insta and just know our kids would love this some of those views are breathtaking and oh the people watching x

  5. enquiriesethannevelyncom

    Oh my goodness that photo with the rainbow is so beautiful! I love how you got to go do the Elephants, how amazing.

    Thank you for taking part in #explorerkids linky

  6. Pingback: Arugam Bay with kids

  7. I love Sri Lanka! This post has made me want to go back. Great to get your itinerary. We went the other way round, starting in Kandy. I’m impressed at how long you managed to travel in Tuk tuks!! #mondayescapes

  8. Catherine Tulley

    HI…. This is so apt as we have just booked a month in sri lanka in January/ february …. is there anything you would not recommend or places not to bother with… our boys are similar age or will be.. nearly 4 and nearly 2 by the time we get there,….

    Thank you

    Catherine x

    1. Hi Catherine! Thank you so much for reading. I’m so excited for your visit!! We absolutely LOVED our time in Sri Lanka. The only place we didn’t quite vibe with was Kandy. That may have been because it was the end of the trip, or just too busy… not sure. But an absolute must for your kids is Udawalawe National Park. Here’s the link to our post on it: travelynnfamily.com/udawalawe-with-kids/

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  10. Pingback: Colombo with kids: top 5 things to do – TraveLynn Family

  11. This looks absolutely amazing!!! Would you recommend booking it all separately? Our youngest will be 18 Months so I love reading about your trip with your little ones. It’s made me want to visit even more !

  12. Wow, what an incredible trip. If we didn’t have Lapland in the agenda for next December I’d be seriously looking into this for early 2019. Can I ask what time of year you went? Our son will be 4 in January and I’d love to visit Sri Lanka with him. Thanks for linking up your travel itinerary! #wanderlustkids

  13. Pingback: Favourite family beaches in Sri Lanka – TraveLynn Family

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    1. We live in Bangalore where we have to take precautions against Dengue here too, so it’s an everyday thing for us. But just your usual precautions need to be adhered too – lather with good mossie repellant, cover up with long sleeves and trousers at dusk, buy mossie coils etc.

      Sri Lanka is still our fave family trip to date, so I know you’ll have an incredible time 🙂

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